Growing up in Scotland, where midwives commonly provide care instead of obstetricians during pregnancies and childbirth, Bethany Houser has always viewed homebirths, midwifery and doula services as a standard practice.
After splitting her time between the U.S. and Scotland since she was a kid, Houser moved back to Europe after high school to pursue a midwifery degree at the University of the West of Scotland. Working in both an urban hospital and community settings, numerous midwives mentored Houser where she delivered more than 100 babies and helped women through complicated pregnancies.
“I knew in Scotland there was such a high education for midwives,” Houser said. “There was a high level of academics, and the government was investing in maternity care … America is actually one of the only countries that is not completely midwifery led.”
Houser left Scotland shortly after she graduated in 2018, moving to the Flathead Valley where she is continuing her passion by launching Bee’s Birth and Doula Services.
While Houser is a licensed midwife in Scotland, she is working to fill her requirements to become licensed in the U.S., and she has become a doula in the meantime to help women with their emotional needs throughout their pregnancies and following childbirth.
“A doula is basically everything besides the medical checkups and blood work,” Houser said. “It’s a trained companion for birth.”
From conception to postpartum, Houser offers a variety of packages for clients to choose from, which include personalized labor support, postpartum care and childhood education. During home visits, Houser provides emotional support throughout the pregnancy, and she attends each client’s childbirth.
“We talk about what to expect and let them know how the body works,” Houser said. “We talk through worries or fears someone might have … I’m really there to create a memorable experience.”
As a doula, Houser also works with doctors in the hospital during the labor and birth to create a positive experience for her client.
“The doctors often pull me aside and ask me what my thoughts are on the situation,” Houser said. “I’m able to be a bridge between my client and the doctor.”
In addition to pregnancy and childbirth, Houser provides postpartum care and she regularly volunteers at the Postpartum Resource Group, an organization in Kalispell, where she works with women suffering from postpartum depression and other mood disorders. From her own experience, Houser believes that women who have access to doula services throughout their pregnancy helps mitigate negative effects following childbirth.
Houser continues to gain experience working with new mothers and she hopes to eventually open a doula clinic and provide midwifery services in Montana once she’s licensed.
“Becoming a part of the Postpartum Resource Group really highlighted the need for more support in this community and I know from being a midwife in Scotland, I would be able to step into that role,” Houser said. “I have such a passion for this and I want to be in the world of midwifery and pregnancy in the Flathead community.”
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